Bury St Edmunds’ floral beauty has seen it crowned Anglia in Bloom’s best large town for the first time in nine years.
The prestigious title, which was bestowed at an awards ceremony in Norfolk on Tuesday, followed the announcement of further accolades for Bury – a trio of gold awards.
These were given for two of its parks – Nowton Park and the Abbey Gardens – in the competition’s ‘large parks’ category and for Bury as a whole in the ‘large town’ category.
Alan Jary, chairman of Bury in Bloom, said: “We’re absolutely over the moon – we aim high and we have achieved.
“We’ve been in a regional contest now for 29 years and I’m delighted to say we’ve actually been selected as best town in our category 12 times, so it’s a nice round dozen.”
He added: “We are thrilled and it’s down to the whole commitment of the town, the businesses, the councils, the people, the volunteers, the stalls, all of that is what gets us awards like the best town.”
Robin Burnett, chairman elect, who is due to take over from Mr Jary next week, said: “I’ve been amazed by the enthusiasm, skill and hard work of all those involved in making Bury such a beautiful town, and winning the best large town floral prize is a wonderful start for me. .”
Melanie Lesser, who coordinates Bury’s in Bloom campaign, said she was ‘really chuffed’ with the result.
“We’re absolutely delighted because 2007 was the last time we won the overall large town category and a lot of hard work has gone into it from everybody, so it’s a real delight,” she said.
Among the things to have impressed the judges were Bury’s hanging baskets, of which there are more than 500 this year, the use of sustainable and insect-friendly plants in the Abbey Gardens and the involvement of volunteers, especially with the Tollgate Triangle’s River of Flowers.
And given the marked increase in Bury’s visitor numbers recently – more than half a million people visited the town last month (see page 4) – this success can only prove to be an even bigger draw.
Ms Lesser said free entry to the Abbey Gardens and Bury’s popular Magna Carta Barons and Lark and Linnet Bollard Trails had proved particularly enticing for visitors.
“People always used to go to the seaside but, actually, Bury has so much to offer,” she said.
Bury will find out next month if it will be able to compete in Britain in Bloom.